Government bounty aplenty for Bluenose centennial celebrations


  • <p>A screen grab from the March video tribute celebrating the 100th birthday of the Bluenose launch. Bluenose II captain Philip Watson offered commentary.</p>
  • <p>SOURCE: YOUTUBE/BLUENOSE 100</p><p>The Bluenose in turbulent seas.</p>

Three levels of government came forward with a bounty of support for centennial celebrations of Canada's most famous racing and fishing ship.

During a May 27 news conference, Ottawa announced the lion's share – $165,900 in grants – while the province is chipping in a $20,000 subsidy. Lunenburg, the birthplace of the Bluenose schooner, is spending $5,000.

The money goes toward helping the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society present virtual and socially-distanced events commemorating the iconic vessel's 100th birthday.

South Shore-St. Margaret's MP Bernadette Jordan said funding to aid the visitor experience is paramount to the national economy and figures to be key in Canada's post-COVID-19 pandemic outlook.

"We want to help boost local tourism from coast-to-coast-to-coast and help the industry prepare for a strong and swift recovery," Jordan said during the news conference. "We will be ready to welcome visitors again when the time is right ..."

The Bluenose 100 committee, a sub-committee of the museum society, began presenting events on March 26, the date of the vessel's original launch in Lunenburg 100 years prior.

Descendants of the main players linked to the Bluenose's local history and a swath of national and local dignitaries paid tribute to the iconic schooner during an hour-long virtual tribute aired on social media platforms operated by the organizing committee. The event featured a series of interviews, videos, historical footage and remarks from community leaders.

Celebration events will run until the end of October. The Snowbirds aerobatic team, which happens to be marking its own 50th birthday this year, is scheduled to do an airshow on August 25.

"For Lunenburgers, it's heartwarming to be able to celebrate 100 years of her legacy and we look forward to many more," said Lunenburg Mayor Matt Risser, one of a series of speakers participating in the May 27 news conference.

Lunenburg MLA Suzanne Lohnes-Croft and Philip Watson, captain of the replica Bluenose II, also spoke, as did Alan Creaser, who oversees the Bluenose 100 committee.

The Bluenose reached national admiration status with its racing and fishing heritage. Captained by Angus Walters, it conquered international fishermen's cup races nearly 20 years in a row. The Queen of North Atlantic, as the Bluenose became known, raced for the last time competitively in the late 1930s. The vessel was losing money as the Second World War ramped-up, and was sold in 1942 to the West Indies Trading Company to haul freight. The Bluenose was transporting bananas and rum near Haiti in 1946 when it struck a reef and sank.

Since then, the schooner's image lives on; whether it be on coins, postage stamps, names of community groups, or Nova Scotia's vehicle registration plate.

Canada Post launched a special commemorative stamp, while the Royal Canadian Mint recently released a pure silver dollar, a pure gold coin, and a pure silver proof set among special currency to mark the special birthday.

Check out www.bluenose100.ca on the internet to view events and learn more about the celebrations.

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